“Oh, your from Seattle? Well, Portland is a lot like that. Except, like, way better!”
This is the common refrain I hear around Portland. Since I’ve had this argument with Elder Wanker for nigh unto decades now, my hackles spring up and I prepare to debate the finer points of why this person is horribly, catastrophically mistaken.
Except, I haven’t lived here. Yet.
So: open mind. Breathe.
“Yeah, Portland is great. Love the food carts” is my usual reply. At which point said person dives into their own special thing they love.
My week in Portland so far has been pretty fabulous I must admit. I’ve gotten to walk around a lot and have started to form a more detailed opinion of what is to be my new home.
Now, I’ve mentioned the food cart scene before, so I should save any updates on those until I’ve got enough for a full run-through. Much “research” is needed.
But the town itself I haven’t really dived into before. Well, turns out it’s got all the lovely things a major city needs. Buildings. Parks. Much more comprehensive mass-transit options than Seattle. And it’s a pretty friendly place over all:
After my time through Europe, I saw so many beautiful and noteworthy stone churches that I started to become blind to them. They faded into the otherwise amazing historical setting of most major (and minor) towns in Europe. But now back in the states I find that Portland has a few of their own:
They are even branching out to try to make them appear less… stodgy? Not sure if that’s the right description, but still: cool contrast.
And they are far more inclusive than churches that I’m used to.
And even though they have been modernizing the Northwest of the city for nearly a decade now, they do a good job of preserving some of the old buildings and putting them to use. Makes for a great walking area with really interesting shops and restaurants.
But one thing really stands out as something Portland is doing right. I’ve been all around the west side of the city here, and I’ve seen a number of these around. I saw some attempts at these kinds of solutions in places like London, but they were open-air and useful only for guys. These installations make the city better for everyone.
Also, Portland has a pretty impressive number of homeless / transient / vagabond seeming folks on the streets, so the installations of a publicly available toilet are even more welcome. I think we can all agree that we’d rather have everyone deposit their bodily functions in private and in a controlled spot.
Speaking of the homeless: the saying goes (and this is from that show, Portlandia, I think): “Portland is where young people go to retire”. Current sporadic evidence supports this. Lots of young, dreadlocked, busker-seeming kids hanging around with various cardboard signs entreating you to deposit a few sheckles in their waiting hands. Not sure why Portland is a good place for this? I would think Southern California would be a MUCH better option.
However! They are not all young buskers. No, they come in all sizes and stripes. Why just tonight as I was walking back from grocery shopping for the first time in… well, a long time, an obviously homeless man greeted me by saying “good day.” I thought that was quite polite of him, so I greeted him back with what I thought was a pleasant smile and a return of his salute. He immediately growled at me “You need to listen to some FUNKADELIC MUSIC! It’ll improve your personality!”
I’m not sure how he could ascertain I have a particularly problematic personality from such a brief interaction, so I’ll just have to chalk it up to him being a very astute observer. As I continued on down the road he yelled after me: “IT’LL IMPROVE YOUR LIFE!” Indeed. I will take this under advisement.
Thus endeth my last week before I rejoin the work force. I should point out that I’ve just experienced one of the innate and special joys of life that I didn’t know I had missed until this very moment: putting on clothes directly out of the dryer in mid-cycle. That’s some good stuff.